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Tammy Carolan



Lisa Hastings-Wells




Sherry Sines

PD Coordinator


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Morningside College


Paraeducator Certification

Paraeducator Certification Program

Iowa’s certification program for paraeducators is based on competencies that reflect the skills necessary for multiple para assignments. The Level I Generalist PK – 12 Paraeducator Certification requires 90 contact hours as defined by Iowa Code. Grant Wood AEA offers three 30-hour classes leading to Level I certification. Course work to meet the required competencies is offered on a rotating basis in the fall, spring and summer semesters. Courses may be taken in any order. All courses are a blend of face-to-face meetings with the instructor and online work.

All online components require the participant to have access to a computer with an Internet connection. You will be accessing some course activities thorugh the AEA PDOnline system, which is an online website. You are welcome to bring a computer or tablet to class. If you do not have a computer available to bring to class, you may use one from our mobile lab during class time. Grant Wood AEA computers are not available for check out beyond the in class sessions. Participants are expected to fully complete all online and in class content and assignments independently, wihin the time frames determined, and at the level of quality outlined by the instructor. You should expect the online and in class time to equal 30 instructional hours plus some additional time for assignment completion outside of the instructional hours for each class.

Successful completion of the three paraeducator courses is specific to the generalist certification and is not a job specific curriculum. The courses are designed to support work as a paraeducator in any educational setting. Some additional requirements may apply for specific positions.

To obtain the PK -12 Paraeducator Generalist Certificate participants must demonstrate that they have met all of the required competencies as part of the specified coursework. Courses taken after July, 2014 at Grant Wood AEA will meet the current competencies. Additionally, applicants must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or graduate equivalent diploma and complete the required background checks. The Iowa BOEE issues the Iowa paraeducator certification.

Paraeducator Certification Renewal

Paraeducator Certificates must be renewed every five years. Recertification coursework can be completed anytime during the five year certification period (from the issue to the expiration date of the certificate). To renew, a para must submit to the Board of Educational Examiners an application, the renewal fee, documentation of completion of Child and Dependent Adult Abuse training and verification of successful completion of coursework totaling three units (each unit equaling 15 contact hours) in any combination listed below. Activities that meet the renewal credit criteria may include:

  1. Paraeducator approved courses offered by Grant Wood AEA's Professional Development Program.

  2. An additional paraeducator area of concentration offered by Kirkwood Community College.

  3. Participation in the Advanced Certification resulting in an Associate of Arts degree offered by Kirkwood Community College.

  4. Participation in local district/building job embedded, collective Professional Development activities that support the district/building career development plan and are offered for recertification credit.

  5. One unit may be earned for each semester hour of college credit.

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Grant Wood AEA Paraeducator Certification Classes


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Grant Wood Area Education Agency extends equal opportunities in its employment practices, educational programs and services, and does not discriminate on the basis of color, gender, race, national origin, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status or as otherwise prohibited by law. If you believe you or your child has been discriminated against or treated unjustly, please contact the Agency’s Equity Coordinator, Maria Cashman, at 319-399-6847 or 800-332-8488 or TDD 319-399-6766, Grant Wood AEA, 4401 Sixth St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

ADDRESS: 4401 Sixth Street SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
TELEPHONE: 319-399-6700 | 800-332-8488
Fax: 319-399-6457 | TDD: 319-399-6766
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